Thursday, January 19, 2012


Everyone knows something

I have a cell phone. It's a "slider" made by Sony Ericsson, company that I was given to understand no longer is in the handset business.

I've had this unit for several years and, for the most part, it has served me faithfully.

But lately it started failing me.

It would lose the network connectivity.

It would fail to locate towers.

The only way to "restore" it was to power down and power up again.

Like the old Unix boxes, this took a frustratingly long time.

I took the handset to the network provider and explained the problem.

From the clerk on the floor I learned that

    (a) A handset's life expectancy is about one year (never mind that the initial contract was for TWO years - think about that)

    (b) "We don't fix handsets - we don't even have a screwdriver on site."

The clerk WAS willing to sell me a new handset - and a new two-year contract.

But he made a mistake - he told me in a candid moment that I could buy and use a network-compatible phone, what some retailers call "No Contract" phones. There also are "Prepaid" phones, but since I have a post-pay contract, that option was off the table.

I found a replacement phone by searching the WWW. I was looking for

    an inexpensive phone

    with Bluetooth connectivity

I don't want or need a camera or MP3 player or . . .

Basically I want a phone to make and receive calls.


I found such a phone and I hied myself off to the retailer, a Big Box electronics store.

When I finally got the Sweet Young Thing's (SYT) attention , she got the phone I ordered and set it up.

As she was doing this, I explained WHY I was buying the new phone.

"It could be the handset has pocket lint., said the SWT.

She opened the old handset, blew out enough lint to choke a horse - OK, a small horse - and wiped the battery clean.

Having set up the new phone, I headed for the fliver with both phones.

Being a former writer, I usually RTM - Read The Manual - before turning on whatever it is the manual covers.

I looked at the handset's Quick Start booklet and its User's Guide.

No mention of Bluetooth connectivity.

Finally I found the real User's Manual and started looking for any reference to Bluetooth in the Table of Contents - there was no index.


Neither "blue" nor "tooth."

Back to the store and the SYT.

Again, after cooling my heels, she asked what was the problem.

"No Bluetooth," I said, adding that sans Bluetooth, I don't want the handset.

I told her the company's Web site listed the handset and being Bluetooth compatible and she confirmed this. (The next day, the Web site was corrected.)

In the end, she set up my old handset and I went on my way.

In the process I learned several things, the most important of which is to "de-lint" pocketable electronic devices from time to time.

The way to avoid future lint issues is to get a holster for the phone. I thought I'd use a baggie, but then I thought that probably would really get the handset overheated.

The way to mitigate the problem is to open the device up maybe once a quarter and blow out the accumulated lint and to wipe down the battery.

The ERM-BC-COOP lessons from all this?

    1) Listen to everyone; everyone has something to offer that will come in handy, if not now, then perhaps later.

    (2) Maintain your gear, even if the procedure is missing from the documentation, think about "What If" probabilities.

Murphy's - or someone's - Law has it that something will go wrong at the worst possible moment. Missing an important call is bad enough. Missing an important call because of pocket lint is embarrassing.

Now I - and you - know how to prevent that embarrassment.

Because I listen.

If I wrote it, you may quote it.

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